pink

Toys Don’t Have Genders

Vista has been saving her money and so we went out today to let her pick out a toy.  We headed over to the local box store and started wandering up and down the toy aisles.

I made a conscious decision not to skip the first few aisles where the so called/labeled “boys” toys were.  I wanted to see what toy Vista would pick when allowed to choose for herself.

She ignored the barbies.  She walked right past the dolls.  She didn’t even look at the shelves upon shelves of princess and Suzy homemaker stuff.

matchboxcliffhangerfirestation Toys Dont Have GendersInstead she pulled a Matchbox Cliffhanger Fire Station off the shelf and put that in the cart.

I will admit I was a little surprised.  But instead of asking if she was sure that was what she wanted (and thus making her question her choice), I instead asked her if she wanted to look at anything else or if she was done.

She told me she didn’t want to look anymore and was ready to go.

So we headed home, put together her new toy, and she proceeded to play with it for the next two hours.

It’s always interesting what toys kids will choose when left to be kids rather than assigning the toys genders.  Many parents when faced with the same situation would have told their daughter’s “No, sweetie. That’s a ‘boy’ toy,” and dragged their girls to the aisles of pink.

Vista does love pink, and loves to dress up as a princess, but she also loves to play with toy cars and trains.  I’m OK with that.

This year for her birthday, we bought her a butterfly net and a kit for catching and examining bugs.  She was thrilled and immediately had to go outside and get some ants to look at under the magnifying glass.

I don’t want to limit her scope of play just because she’s female.

When I was in Junior High the girls had to take home-ec and the boys took shop. That was just the way it was and no one questioned it.

I was disgusted.  I wanted to take shop!  That sounded like a heck of a lot more fun than baking a cake.

I got together a few other girls and we campaigned to be allowed to opt into the shop class instead.  We pointed out that it was just as important for us to be able to use tools as it was for boys to be able to cook a meal and sew on a button.

We were lucky.  Our administration listened and changed the classes so that both girls and boys each took half a semester of shop and half a semester of home-ec.

That was over 20 years ago.

And still, here we are assigning gender roles to everything.

I would even go so far as to say that we’ve taken several steps backwards in this area (if the PINK Easy-Bake Oven that Vista has is any indication.  When I had an Easy Bake it just looked like something you would see in the kitchen.  It didn’t need to be pink.)

I will continue to encourage my daughter to play with toys that she enjoys and that encourage her to explore and question her world, because, the last time I checked, toys don’t have genders.

 

It Started With A Simple Stencil

I’ve been wanting to repaint Vista’s room since before she was born.

In fact, I had this whole beautiful nursery planned out.  But V had other plans with her early arrival.

And so her room went unpainted.

Instead I stuck up some Winnie-the-Pooh decals and, later, Disney Princess decals.  But anything within her reach was quickly pulled down.  So, her room was a very stark and drab, with it’s beige walls and white furniture.  And it’s been like that for 4 long years.

I finally decided I was sick of looking at it and made up my mind that this summer we were giving her room a paint job.  It was way past time she had a room fit for a little girl.

So, I did what any geek would do.  I scoured the internet looking for ideas.

The only thing I knew was that decals were out, as far as decorating went.  Other than that, I was at a complete loss as to what to do with her room.

After months (yes.  really.  months) of looking, I finally settled on a design of pale green walls with pink and white accents.

But, once again, V had other plans.

I was looking at a wall stencil site one evening when Vista crawled onto my lap.

She immediately pointed to a picture.  “That.  I want my room to look like that.”

I brought up some other pictures for her to look at, but she wasn’t budging.  She wanted fairies on her wall and the walls better be pink… or else.

So I did what any parent would do.  Caved and bought the stencil package  (never mind the fact I’ve never stenciled anything in my life).

And things just went downhill from there…

This is what the room looked like before we started (well, we had gotten as far as clearing stuff out of her room, removing the horrid shelving units from her closet and wall cubby and patching holes before we had an ‘Oh crap…we need before pics!’ moment)

 


before1 It Started With A Simple Stencil

Her armoire (complete with tacky Disney Princess decal) and bed.  Her bed was one of those crib- to -daybed-to-full bed deals.  I love her bed.  She, of course, hates it.

 

 

before2 It Started With A Simple Stencil

Her massive dresser and the weird in-the-wall cubby hole.  The cubby in the far corner originally had a wire shelving unit in it. It came that way when I bought the place and I just never bothered to remove it, despite my intense loathing for the thing.  I figured since we were pulling it out to paint, it could stay out.

 

 

before3 It Started With A Simple Stencil

The closet also had a horrid wire frame shelving unit in it.  Buh-bye.

Vista’s room is fairly small, with several large pieces of furniture.  Too many large pieces.  One of them had to go.  Which kinda made me sad because I really like her furniture.

We made the decision to take the armoir out and got it as far as the living room before realizing that the thing weighed a billion pounds and there was no way we were going to be able to carry it downstairs to the spare bedroom as we had originally planned. We *might* have had an ‘Oh shit’ moment before Bil came up with the genius idea to put it in our kitchen as an extra storage pantry.  Since our appliances are all white, it fits in nicely.  And also makes me want to redo all the kitchen cabinets so that they’re white too.  And maybe refinish the kitchen table.  It’s funny how projects snowball, isn’t it?

Well, Vista’s room was no exception.  It started with a simple stencil kit.  It ended up being a total room makeover.

After pulling the armoire out, we decided it was probably time to get Vista a full sized mattress.  She’s been complaining that her bed it too small for a while.  She’s also been begging me to paint her bed pink.  I really, really, don’t want to do that. Really.  Like I would cry if I had to.  So instead we headed to Ikea to look at new (cheap) beds.  Because we’re giant suckers and our daughter is spoiled.  Oh, like you wouldn’t do the same.

We wandered around the kids bedding section at Ikea for an hour.  The single beds were ugly.  The full size beds would be to big for her room.  Well…this wasn’t working out how we had planned.

We saw a loft bed that we thought might work, but the reality is we would have to make huge modifications to it in order to make it safe for V to go up and down right now.  That sounded like work.  And effort.  Neither of which I’m terribly fond of.  But, wait! We found out that same bed can be flipped upside down!  Twin bed today, loft bed if she ever get’s coordinated enough to handle it.  Those crazy Swedes.

So we had our new bed.  And then we decided, oh what the heck… lets find a shelving unit to go in the closet while we’re here.

And of course a new bed means new sheets and comforter.

Oh, and then we saw this adorable light fixture that was just PERFECT!

(You see where I’m going with this…right?)

Yeah.

That $80 stencil kit turned into a $1500 complete room reno.

Which we are going to invoice her for on her 18th birthday.  Plus the cost of labor, because ZOMG it was a lot of work.

So….

*drumroll*

This is how the room turned out (and it’s still a work in progress).

 

 

after1 It Started With A Simple Stencil

The new bed.  I hate the canopy on it.  I wanted to do some pretty pink drapes or something more feminine.  V and Bil love the ‘tent’.  I totally got out voted.

The walls look like a pale pink in this picture…they’re actually quite a bright pink.  I had a bit of buyers remorse on the paint once we got the second coat on, because, ZOMG, it’s a lot of pink.

On the to-do list is to paint the wooden bed frame in either a dark pink or white (what say you, my readers?).  I just ran out of time this weekend.

 

 

after2a It Started With A Simple Stencil

The ugly cubby was painted a darker pink and turned into a little reading nook.  I still need to find and put up some little book shelves on the far wall of it.

We ended up, with taking the armoire out and the new furniture arrangement, being able to put V’s toy kitchen in her room.  And she still has more floor space then she had previously.  Bonus.

 

 

after2 It Started With A Simple Stencil

A close up view of the cubby and the wall stencil.  V was totally head over heals in love with this mushroom stencil.  I’m pretty sure that means she’ll be a drug addict when she’s older.

 

 

after3 It Started With A Simple Stencil

Rather than a shelving system, typical of closets, we opted for a wooden bookcase type unit.  I like how it recesses into the closet, but still has plenty of storage space.

 

 

after4 It Started With A Simple StencilThe stencil as you walk into the room.  I have to say I’m really happy with the look of the stencils.  They can be a bit of a pain to place on the wall properly, then time consuming to paint (especially if you want to layer them).  But the final results are amazing and totally worth the effort.

I only had time to get a couple stencils on the wall, but I will be adding more in the weeks to come.

Overall, I’m happy with how things turned out (I could have done without the attached price tag, though, but hey).

Now… to do something about those kitchen cabinets…

 

 

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